By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - When 28-year-old Whitney Jones was at Jordan High School a decade ago, she was on top of the world.
"I graduated with Honors, I really excelled in singing and performing, I was very involved in United Way. I actually received a full scholarship to college through United Way," Whitney says.
But then that world crumbled and Whitney fell into substance abuse, becoming addicted to meth. 17 months ago, Whitney found herself in the Muscogee County Jail, facing some serious charges.
Then a miracle happened.
"I met Susan in jail," Whitney says.
Susan Abercrombie owns Abercrombie Bonding, but it's what she does outside of her business that is most impressive. She visits women in the jail multiple times a week, teaching classes and offering support.
"There are those who are at a moment in their life when their heart is open to hearing to a new way or some new information going into the heart and the heart turning to it," Susan says.
Whitney spent her seven months incarcerated in the jail's faith-based dorm, where Susan teaches class.
"If I didn't have a visitation, I knew that Ms. Susan was going to come for class and she was going to have a message that was going to be encouraging and uplifting," Whitney says.
And Susan's message is rooted in deep understanding and experience. She has struggled with substance abuse in the past.
"In order for encouragement to work, it has to be relational and that's what happened to me, thank goodness, there were people who came into my life that I could interact with," Susan says.
With Susan's help, Whitney is on her path to recovery. She enrolled in Damascus Way after her charges were dropped and she was released from jail.
She graduated from the program just a few weeks ago and has decided to stay on as a servant leader, inspired by Susan, who she still considers a close friend.
"If she can do it, why can't I? I really respect her as a person, as a friend, she is just an inspiration not only to me but to a lot of girls," Whitney says.
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